The hoodie has long been associated with renegade youths, gym junkies and rappers with a penchant for ill-fitting clothes.
But the humble cotton top is seeing a resurgence as men adopt an ‘elegant comfort’ approach to their off-duty attire. So, how does one style the hoodie, and not mimic a hooligan teenager? Listen up home boy.
Breaking It Down
The only way to wear a hoodie (dressed-up) is to put to death any hopes and ideas of neon patterns and bunchy fits (save that for a Nineties, hip-hop themed party, ok?) Today, the hoodie is a great layering component under a nice fitting top coat or trench. Or, it’s a slim-fitting sweater option (zipped or without) worn neatly on its own.
Just as sneakers, track pants and jeans have undergone sizing changes in recent years, the youthful hoodie has too. It’s all a part of growing up, really. Because, as men, sloppy just isn’t good enough.
#1 Formfitting Shape
Like anything ‘dressed-up’, the drape and fit of the hoodie needs to be snug and slim. Gone are the days of ill-fitting, gangster hoodies, which bunch at the stomach and give the wearer an unwelcomed gut. Instead, the shape is almost jacket like for most luxury versions, as the lines between fashion and sports continue to blur.
But the reworked model doesn’t compromise on comfort. Look for shoulders that are cut to form a neat silhouette and opt for a hood compartment that is double layered, ensuring it maintains its shape.
#2 Go Monochrome
This might be an obvious point, but still (some people need reminding) black isn’t just for goths or fashion editors. Anything ‘casual’ looks more dressed-up in a plain colour: black, white or grey. But this doesn’t mean you need to look like a chess board. Experiment with muted colour too (think mustard, marsala red, navy and olive green).
Style-wise, pair a plain, patternless hoodie with dark denim and clean cut sneakers or brogues – the latter is a more playful version of the typical lace-up and matches the quirkiness of the hoodie.
#3 Focus On Fabric
It’s amazing what quality fabrics can do to a garment. Like a suit, polyester and other synthetic-cotton blend make the average hoodie look, and feel nasty. A big textile win is a hoodie in pure-cotton jersey. Cotton is breathable and if you’re headed out make cause the sweats, while jersey translates the softness back into cotton, and eliminates the crinkled elements known to some pure cottons.
Another cool fabric this season is neoprene. Built like a wetsuit, the spongey fabric speaks volumes to sportsluxe look big in men’s wear. Pair the hoodie with cotton-jersey jogger pants – tailored at the ankle and some luxury sneakers.
But if you want to spend a pretty penny, look to cashmere-silk blends. But be warned, once you go cashmere, cotton simply won’t cut it.
#4 Work It Like A Waistcoat
Here’s the fun part; dressing-up the hoodie. The smoothest way is to treat the hoodie like you would a waistcoat, especially the zip-through kind. Pick a neutral-hue (grey is perfect) and layer (zipped-up) over a cut-away collared shirt and tie (nonchalantly tucked into the open tuck of the hoodie).
Wear like this or put on an unstructured wool-cotton blazer (think navy and double-breasted for ramped-up chic-ness). Shades and cotton chinos come next. And you’ll be looking sprezzatura in no time.
#5 Look To Hybrids
By hybrid, we mean quasi-blazer hoodies and utility variations. The former is the most sophisticated, recognised perhaps for its breast pocket, complete with a dandy pocket square. One brand offering dapper hoodies is L’Estrange. Their posh hoodies come with internal pockets and paisley patterned satin-lining, much like an unstructured blazer.
Otherwise, functional-ise the hoodie with metalic hardware, bold front pockets and cool zips and clips. Big name brands like Givenchy and Balenciaga are even plonking leather panels onto hoodies this season and decentralising zips for utility hoodie hybrids. Now, these are hoodies – at their most refined.
The hoodie was designed to be simple, which is a good thing, because for dressing up – less is definitely more. Think neutral colours and tones when shopping and always try before you buy. The fit (always slim) and fabric (always soft and made from natural fibre) ensures this casual top looks luxurious, even if it has a hood.
Styling the hoodie with other luxury active pieces, such as clean cut sneakers and tapered jogger pants, well enhance the sport-ish aesthetic. And don’t forget to use the hoodie as a layering piece; worn open as a casual jacket or zipped under a relaxed blazer.